Picking All the Battles


I’m known in my family for historically being argumentative, but somewhere in adulthood I got some maturity going and stopped wanting to be right about everything. Until we had our first daughter that is. As soon as she could reason I started picking all the battles; and it was ugly. Every moment was a teachable moment (to me). Those battles that I won were not great victories. Those battles that led to her crying and me feeling like a bully were useless. I was like a rookie playing a strategy game that they hadn’t figured out a strategy for.

As a maturing person you often need to think about the long game. That’s what broke me of my battle-minded practices. That and my wife telling me, “You have to pick your battles.” The long game recognizes you have to catch your team doing good things, rewarding them, praising them, and then your voice will be heard when something matters. The battles are potentially everywhere, the important ones are not.

When you’re in charge of progress you need to

  • know what it looks like
  • share what it looks like
  • Connect your team members to their specific contribution opportunities to progress
  • Celebrate the successes

This means that you will also need to observe roadblocks, and those can come in the form of battles. Not all of the battles are yours.

Consider what you can do to empower your team to remove their own roadblocks. What can they bring as solutions? If they come to you as a leader for guidance the first thing you want to do is help them unblock themselves. Help them ask What’s Important Now (WIN)?

The battles will still be there, but you’ll have fewer of them and they’ll be the important ones.

What is your battle reduction strategy?

– the MGMT